Defending - 1`s, 2`s, 3`s & 4`s

Defending – 1’s, 2’s, 3’s & 4’s
Defending can sometimes be overlooked by coaches or when braved it can appear sterile, over-organised and/or where the
defenders are perfectly positioned and favoured numerically (which may not be reflective of the game.)
The session here seeks to offer practices that create a variety of situations that defenders may face and encourage repetition of these
scenarios that support players, of a variety of ages and abilities to equip themselves, with the coach’s help, for defending and to
look at situations where players can practice defending as an individual, a pair and finally as part of a team. The following
situations are covered:
Defending against an opponent who is receiving the ball
Defending an opponent who is running at you
Defending when out of balance/disorganised
Defenders making recovery runs
The transition from defending to attacking
Goalkeepers role in defending the goal
Whilst the session follows a progressive three practice plan; identify where your players focus of work should be and then consider
which challenges from the challenge list you want to focus your players play towards (remembering that not everyone has to be
working on defending – e.g. Session 2 – pitch 1 – try to support in an on-side position & pitch 2 – try to get a shot off early).
In all of your work you may wish to consider:
1. Do the players ‘Like the Games’? Practices that are enjoyable and motivating often lead to a more sustained, focused practice
2. Are the practices ‘Like the Game’? Do the sessions encourage the players to practise in a way that looks like it does in ‘The
Game’ of football.
Defending – Variety of Situations
Individual Defending – Repetition Circuit
• Pitch 1 - Server plays into attacker who
attempts to beat red and score in goal – server
becomes attacker and attacker retrieves their
ball and joins end of other pitch.
Pitch 1
• Pitch 2 – Blue attacker runs ball onto pitch –
defender deals with attacker running at them –
attacker retrieves ball and joins end of other
• On pitch 1 - If attacker scores without using
support players (yellows), 3 goals. If attacker
uses support to score, 1 goal is scored.
Pitch 2
Defending in Two’s
Pitch 1
1. Pitch 1 – Blue server plays in to blues who
attack to score past GK
2. If Red’s regain, score by playing into the blue
server who then dribbles onto pitch to make a
3 vs. 2
3. Pitch 2 – Blue dribbles ball onto pitch to make
2 vs. 2. As blue enters the pitch, red at back of
servers box recovers onto pitch. Red’s score by
regaining and dribbling into servers box.
Pitch 2
Back Four
1. Four vs. three + GK in defensive third of the pitch &
3 vs. 2 in midfield
2. Red’s trying to defend goal . If they regain, break
into middle area and score into goal
3. Try to keep at least one of your team in midfield
4. Encourage general flow of game to allow realistic
situations to occur
Challenges + Coaching Points to help your Players
Challenges Relating to the Theme
Other Challenges that may suit Individuals
1. Try to work out when to mark the space and when to mark
the player
1. Try to play 1-touch when it’s on
2. Try and recognise when to press and when not to
2b. Try to recognise when to follow an opponent short and
when to hold your position
2. Try to recognise when to run with it and when to release it
3. Try to position yourself to be able to intercept
3a. Try to work out when to intercept and when to prevent
3. Try to win the ball back within 4 passes of the opposition
gaining it
4. Try to position yourself to see the ball and your opponent
4b. Try to mark ball side
4. Try to recognise when to play forward and when not to
5. Try to prevent your opposition playing forward
5a. If they do; try to turn and pinch it from the front
5. Look for opportunities to switch play
6. Try to recognise when to run back to help and when not to
6a. When running back, try to recognise when to go to the ball
and when to run to space
6. GK – when to push defence up
6b. GK – when to play short and when to play long
7. Try to recognise when to block shots
7b. When blocking shots; try to recognise when to go to ground
and when not to
7. When to use skills and tricks to beat an opponent
Notes for Coaches
Try to use the challenges to help the players to decide the best thing to do for the situation
Try to select challenges that fit the area of work
Try to recognise which player(s) needs a new/different challenge (recognise when to stop the whole group and when you can speak to an
Allow players to choose their own challenges (even if it doesn’t link directly to the theme (so it’s their own syllabus)

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